Williamstown, MA- Mohammed Rashid scored his team-leading third goal of the season and the only goal of the today as the Williams College Ephs ran their undefeated streak to six games with a 1-0 win over visiting RPI.
Williams runs its record to 5-1-0 (2-0/NESCAC)), while RPI drops to 2-4-1.
Both teams struggled to find their offensive rhythm for the entirety of the first 45 minutes, a half played mainly between the boxes. However, towards the end of the half, the Ephs started to pick up some rhythm with two narrow misses from freshman Damian Gass.
The first miss came in the 36th minute, when Gass gathered a beautiful ball played ahead from sophomore Eric Hirsch but he hit it just outside the right post, and the second stroke came five minutes later in the 41st minute, when junior midfielder Tom Young hit a corner that found its way to Gass, looking to redeem himself, but he again headed it high, unable to break the scoreless tie.
From the opening kick of the second half, it was evident that both teams would be playing with renewed energy and passion. This first came to fruition for RPI in the 55th minute, when freshman midfielder Austin Betterly got the ball at the top right edge of the box, evaded a defender and ripped a shot, but it went several inches too high. The shot didn't go in, but it continued to build momentum for the Engineers.
Not too long after Betterly's miss in the 63rd minute, senior Devon Baughen added to RPI's offensive firepower, shooting the ball from within a scrum right in front of the goal, but Eph goalie Christian Alcorn just tipped it away to preserve the scoreless match.
Not to be outdone, Mohammed Rashid and Williams would step up to match the Engineers' offensive pressure. In the 69th minute, Rashid sprinted down RPI's half of the pitch, evading several defenders in the process. However, he was only able to get off a short ground ball, which RPI goalie Ryan Nealon had plenty of time to gather in. However, this would not deter the Ephs, and they were back on the offensive three minutes later, when Malcolm Singleton started a ferocious run down the left side of the field, with Rashid and Damian Gass on his right. Singleton made a move inside and expertly passed between RPI defenders to Rashid, who kicked a high ball straight over Nealon's shoulder and into the top right corner of the net for the first and only score of the match.
When asked about what caused his team's renewed passion in the second half, Eph coach Erin Sullivan said, "...Our message at halftime was to stay confident, keep believing, keep doing the simple things right, and we'll break through...having seniors on the field, you know they'll have the confidence to ride through some of the tougher moments."
On the match, Nealon recorded three saves, while Alcorn had one save.
Williams starts its road trip on Saturday with a matchup against archrival Amherst at 2:30 p.m., while RPI goes home to host the University of Rochester on Saturday at 4 p.m.